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Status Go - "Creating a Culture Plan" with Mike MeadStatus Go – Episode 96

The first 30 days of a CIO’s tenure can be difficult to navigate. Expectations are high, for both the organization and the CIO. Add to that a relocation half-way across the country and it can make for some very interesting dynamics. In our continuing series “The CIO’s First 30 Days”, we have talked with first time CIOs, veteran CIOs starting with new organizations, and tenured CIOs looking back to their first few weeks in the office. In this episode, I talk with Mike Mead. Mike is the CIO for CNO Financial Group. He had just three weeks between the offer to join CNO and walking in the front door, halfway across the country. 

Mike’s journey over the two years since joining CNO is packed full of leadership lessons. Not just those two years, his career journey is packed full of leadership lessons! A couple that stood out for me was knowing when to ask for help and developing a plan for the culture you want to have in your organization! Whether you are guiding an IT department or an aspiring leader, you will want to listen to Mike’s insights! 

Status Go is the weekly podcast from InterVision. We provide actionable insights from technology leaders to technology leaders who want to break out of the status quo and lead their businesses into the new future. Listen to more of our episodes here: https://www.intervision.com/statusgo-podcasts/

Leadership Thought: A Gift of Wisdom

The Gift of Wisdom – Leadership from Around the World

 

We have entered the holiday season. Many around the globe will be celebrating in December. Hanukkah begins on December 12th, Kwanzaa begins on December 26th and Christmas on December 25th. 

No matter your faith, I have a gift for you this season. In this space, on the first Tuesday of the month, I typically share a thought about leadership. Today, my gift to you is to share the gifts from leaders around the world…the gifts of wisdom. 

Beginning today and continuing for the next 24 days, read insights into leadership, personal growth, people development, and more. People Development Magazine is a digital publication from Christina Lattimer from the UK. Christina has gathered posts from authors, speakers, and coaches to be shared each day in the form of an online Advent Calendar. I have the honor of being included in this year’s postings (but I am not telling which day 🙂 ). 

Today’s gift is “Simple Techniquest to Create Great Leaders” by Dr. Todd Dewett. Read it and get a taste of the gifts to come. Sign up to have each gift of insight delivered directly to you. 

Use the waning days of 2020 to grow your leadership! 

Status Go "What's Next? | Leadership & Career CoachingStatus Go – Episode 93

One of the most valuable things I did in my career was to hire an executive coach. Careers are complicated. Many times we are caught up in the currents and could use some guidance for finding the way forward. If you have read my book Amplify Your Job Search, you know I recommend hiring a coach multiple times. It is a career amplifier (see how I did that?)! 

Enter Brad Finkeldei, president of Career Confidence. Brad is a recovering IT professional turned career coach. Not surprising, his focus is on the IT pro. In our conversation, we discuss the importance of clarity, something important to any professional regardless of their industry. As we dig deeper, he talks about the most common roadblocks to career success: fear and false narratives. If you are stagnated in your career, you will want to listen to this episode! 

Status Go is the weekly podcast from InterVision. We provide actionable insights from technology leaders to technology leaders who want to break out of the status quo and lead their businesses into the new future. Listen to more of our episodes here: https://www.intervision.com/statusgo-podcasts/

Status Go "Proactive Leadership" with Steve JohnsStatus Go – Episode 86

2020 has been a year of chaos…to say the least. A global pandemic, rising racial tensions, economic devastation, and more. Leaders have been challenged unlike never before. Steve Johns is leading his organization through this quagmire. Steve is the CEO of OneCause, a fundraising platform for non-profits. 

Steve takes us on the journey of 2020, the problems they were facing, the decisions he and his leadership team made, and the resulting future they have built. The organization is stronger, more united, and positioned to grow. Listen to one of the greatest leadership stories of 2020 (and maybe of our times)!  

Status Go is the weekly podcast from InterVision. We provide actionable insights from technology leaders to technology leaders who want to break out of the status quo and lead their businesses into the new future. Listen to more of our episodes here: https://www.intervision.com/statusgo-podcasts/

#AmplifyYourLeadership Lewis & ClarkIt’s not often I get to speak to someone who is equally passionate about Lewis and Clark as I am. I was thrilled to be a guest on The Good Life podcast to talk about the leadership lessons that can be gleaned from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Host, Sean Murray, and I dig into the expedition in Part I of this two-part interview. Having authored a microbook titled Everything I Learned About Leadership…I Learned from Lewis and Clark and numerous blog posts, I enjoyed the conversation with Sean.

In Part I, we talk about vision, team building, accountability, and diversity as we trace the footsteps of Lewis and Clark on the first part of their epic journey. If you missed it, here is the link!

In Part II, we discuss developing resilience in yourself and your team, overcoming obstacles, and how to make a decision when your team disagrees! Check out this installment of Lewis and Clark!

 

WorkMinusHost Neil Miller and I go deep on why IT departments can no longer be known as the department of “No”.  Technology is now at the center of most businesses. In face, very few industries can survive without technology. IT leaders must be seeking ways to drive the business forward, create new revenue streams, interact with the customer…and the customer’s customer. IT is core to the future of work! Listen to the episode here!

WorkMinus is an organization founded on the future of work. The focus on six key workplace concepts for the future: Leadership, Productivity, Diversity & Inclusion, Workspaces, Technology and Culture.

Humans Now and ThenHost Rebecca Scott and I get real about the changing face of IT. What skills does the IT leader of today and tomorrow need to be successful and drive their businesses forward? The answer may surprise you…it has little to do with technology. Our businesses are demanding more of us in this digital age. While our focus was on the future, we also look to the past and talk about the importance of journal writing and a couple of guys named Lewis & Clark. Listen to our conversation here!

Humans, Now and Then explores how our rapidly changing world impacts our human experience, now and in the future. If you like the show, please share with others to help get them involved in the conversation about the future.

Note from Jeff: in light of the current environment and the dynamic nature of the coronavirus pandemic, I thought it wise to break from my normal format. I’d like to highlight just a few of the words of wisdom I have seen on LinkedIn in the last few days: 

The first two were shared by Dave Linn:

Do not read about best practices for distance learning. That’s not the situation we’re in. We’re in triage mode. Distance learning, when planned, can be really excellent. That’s not what this is. Think about what you must cover and what might be expendable. Thinking you can manage best practices in a day or a week will lead to feeling like you’ve failed.

You can read the post in its entirety here

While Dave was sharing some insights for educators who are having to face the reality of distance learning, I think the same applies to business leaders who are having to face the reality of a remote workforce with little or no time to prepare. 

In another post, Dave reminds us to see who among us needs help:

How can you help? We’re all familiar with the airline safety instruction that someone should put on their own oxygen mask before helping others. That’s also a commonly used business analogy. Leaders need to make sure they are in the right place before they can take care of their teams.

Read what to do next here

Dave reminds us to look outside of our normal “followers”. As leaders, we need to look next door, across the street, and down the block for those that need our help in these times. 

Next from Phillip Berry: 

Peace be with you. Peace in heart and soul. Peace in your physical environment. Peace in the space between your ears. May peace be upon you in this strange and bewildering moment in time.

To read Phil’s full message of peace, click here.  

We are in a chaotic time, unlike any most of us have ever seen. Phil’s wish for us to find peace is a helpful reminder that we as leaders need to find peace and give peace to those around us! 

Thank you to Dave and Phil for reminding us what is truly important in life!

This Question Of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” Comes Up Often

A question came in this week in the form of an email from a former colleague with whom I have stayed in touch: 

“I would like to get together with you again for advice on where to go next. I still have a responsible position but didn’t get the leadership position cemented that I would have liked. 

When I met with you a few years ago, I said that I really enjoyed being the decision-maker or at least the one pulling the options together and obtaining approval of the recommended approach. 

After all this time, my boss is still at many times unavailable and leaves me to run many things.

But I don’t get the recognition I desire.

One of our main programmers just told me last week, “You’re doing almost everything.”

It is lonely being in this position, yet I don’t get anywhere asking for a regular 1:1 with my boss. 

Nor do I get the kudos I need to keep going on at this company.  

It’s been crazy busy as we are implementing a new system this Nov or Dec, also, and I’m a key person in the configuration. 

I just need another professional opinion on where to go next.

I don’t necessarily want to abandon all this and I have 15 years at this position, 8-9 in this particular role.” 

I think the question is one we all struggle with from time to time: “Should I stay or should I go?”

Step One: Reflection

One of the exercises I recommend to anyone who is in transition (or, in this case, contemplating transition) is to make a Top Ten List (borrowed from Letterman, but not near as funny).

Actually, I recommend three top ten lists.

Top Ten things you would use to describe the perfect:

  • job
  • boss
  • company 

In the case of someone contemplating a move, they should try not to think about their current job.

The bias may come through and they could end up with the top ten things they would prefer to change at their current job. 

Then force rank each list 1 to 10 (no ties). 

Step Two: Evaluate

Once you have those ranked lists, then think about your current job, boss and company.

Check each one that describes where you are now. 

It sounds like you are dissatisfied with your current position.

Does this exercise support that feeling?

Make you feel better or worse?

Leaving someplace where you have invested so much of your time and effort is difficult. Earlier in my own career, I had 12 years at one employer and 15 years at another. 

Leaving was incredibly difficult.

But…I wanted more. 

I think you have to ask yourself “why”.

What…

  1. drives you?
  2. motivates you?
  3. gets you excited to get up every day and go to work?
  4. things do you want to accomplish in the next three years?
  5. things do you want to accomplish in the next five years?

Step Three: Compare

If, after this exercise, you are still feeling stuck, network.

Talk to people about their roles in their organizations.

Share your top ten list with them.

How would they rank their position on your list?

Go on a few interviews. (This has the added benefit of keeping your resume current and interviewing skills sharp).

How do those roles rank on your list? 

So…should you stay or should you go?

Only you can answer that question.

Your top ten lists are going to be different than mine – chances are they will be different for everyone.

You may find your current role ranks pretty well in comparison…or, you may find it ranks dismally low. 

Do you relate?

If you relate to the above conversation, I would love to hear from you.

What are your Top 10 Lists?

Where does your current role rank?

Do you have different advice for my colleague? 

Post a comment, send an email, or give me a call!

I want to hear your stories! 

You Can Develop Resilience

I chose to use this quote to talk about resilience when the world is on edge due to the Coronavirus.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” 

Chinese Proverb –

No, the irony is not lost on me.

In its own way, this proverb says a lot about resilience.

As leaders, we cannot stand up one day and say, “Today, we are going to be resilient.” It takes time, it takes effort, it takes practice.

I’ve been involved in Information Technology disaster recovery in some way, shape, or form for over 30 years.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you must be prepared. Being prepared means:

  • planning ahead.
  • putting processes and procedures in place.
  • testing the plan.

These same principles apply to personal resilience, team resilience, and organizational resilience.

Is your organization ready?

Is your team ready?

Are you ready?

Five Keys to Resilience

Building resilience in your team is much like building resilience in yourself.

Your team needs to learn when:

  1. faced with insurmountable odds, change the narrative;
  2. a retreat is not an option, face their fears;
  3. they are physically and mentally exhausted, take time to rest;
  4. each day brings new challenges, reflect on the day but move ahead; 
  5. mistakes occur, don’t hold grudges – instead forgive. 

Change the Narrative

We’ve all heard the axiom, usually attributed to Einstein, that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Nowhere is this truer than in the practice of building resilience.

To change the narrative, try changing your perspective as you look at a problem.

We tend to get myopic as we struggle with a problem; by elevating our view, we get a different perspective (picture climbing a hill to observe the landscape ahead).

Many times this process reveals a different path forward.

Face your fears

Our brain has a way of showing us the worst possible outcome of a situation, even if that outcome isn’t all that probable.

Many times retreat (or procrastination, or avoidance) is not an option, and in fact, can lead to a worse outcome. Take that step and move forward with confidence.

By facing our fears, we build confidence; confidence builds resilience.

Facing our fears does not mean we are not afraid, but it means we are strong enough to move forward despite being afraid. 

Rest

Sounds simple enough.

Our bodies and our minds get tired. We need time to recharge and our teams need time to recharge.

When faced with a challenge, rest can be just what we need.

This may be taking a break from an intense project by sending your team home early or even giving them an extra day off.

It may seem counterintuitive to rest with a deadline looming, but you and your team will come back the next day reinvigorated and ready to attack the problem head-on. 

Speaking of rest…SLEEP is vitally important. Sleep Advisor provides some great recommendations based on your age.

Reflect

Reflection is not the same as rest. It helps to spend time reflecting on the day and on its challenges.

Some may use journaling (or blogging), some may use meditation, and some may use yoga or running.

The key is to think back over your day. What worked – and what didn’t? How did you react and why? What would you do differently the next time?

Writing down your reflections enables you to review them and learn from them in the future.

As your perspectives change, so too will the lessons in your reflections. 

Forgive

This may seem out of place in a post about resilience, but not holding grudges – and not letting others’ mistakes eat you up – will help you be more resilient.

This is true for us as individuals and for teams.

Others are going to make mistakes.

Others are going to let us down.

Holding grudges merely serves to build walls and silos in an organization.

Forgive and move on! 

Do You Feel Resilient?

If you don’t feel resilient, or you don’t believe your team is resilient, now is the time to develop the necessary skills.

Don’t wait another day.

Resilience is something you should continue to develop: learn the skills; put processes in place; and practice, practice practice.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

How do you practice being resilient?